What's Going Around: croup and fifth disease

What's Going Around: croup and fifth disease

This week's What's Going Around takes us to Dr. Kipp Ardoin's office, a pediatrician with the Children's Clinic of Southwest Louisiana and Lake Area Medical Center.

Dr. Ardoin says an infection in the upper airway and a viral infection that can lead to a red rash on the face are going around this week.

Croup is a loud cough, compared to the barking of a seal and it also involves difficulty breathing.  This infection of the voice box is bringing more people to the doctor this week.  "In the majority of cases, it's caused by a virus called the parainfluenza virus," said Dr. Ardoin, "about 75 to 80 percent of cases are viral-induced.  The other 20 to 25 percent of cases are what we call spasmodic croup, which can be allergy-related."

Dr. Ardoin says the best treatment is rest, fluids, a humidifier and in some cases, steroids or cough medicine will be prescribed.

Another virus on the rise during the spring and summer is fifth disease, also known as "slap cheek disease" because of the way it can appear on a person's face.  "It can be spread either with saliva, respiratory droplets or through the blood stream," said Dr. Ardoin, "sometimes you hear concerns with a child with fifth disease or pregnant women or a person with immune problems."

This virus is also treated with rest, fluids and over-the-counter medication like Tylenol.

Both fifth disease and croup can be best avoided by killing common germs every day.  "We always preach good hand hygiene, good hand hygiene," said Dr. Ardoin, "you definitely don't want to be around anyone that may look like they have it or that's sick."

Those basic contact precautions could keep you from catching what's going around this week in Southwest Louisiana.

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